Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


Tag, You’re It – It’s This or That Beauty Tag!

Beauty Tag

Beauty Tag

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Just before I went to bed last night, I saw that I’d been tagged in a fun beauty game by Tianna at StorybookApothecary.  I went to sleep thinking about all the great beauty tips everyone has to share through a fun game of tag, like this one!   

Thanks so much to Tianna at StorybookApothecary for thinking of me!

The Q&As are great and I encourage you to read both Tianna’s and D’s at SweetJellyBean (D. tagged Tianna yesterday!). You never know, you might read about the perfect beauty must-have product that you never knew about! 🙂

1. Blush Or Bronzer? Most days, I would go without both.  For special days, a little bit of blush is just what I need to brighten up my complexion.  I like a pressed blush.  I’ve found the cream blushes way too strong for my skin.

2. Lipstick or Lipgloss? For the most part, lipstick.  I almost never the house without a good dose of colour on my lips. My favorite right now is Halle by Jane Iredale.  In a bind, a tinted lip gloss can stand in for my trusty lipstick.  However, I’m definitely not a fan of the sticky glosses that you tend to find out there.  I’ve started making my own glosses, but have yet to perfect the recipe…

3. Chapstick or Lip Butter? Lip Butter!  I make my own and I would never turn back.  It’s so easy to combine a few oils a bit of wax to make the perfect lip butter for yourself.  Once I learned how to make my own, I got rid of all my store-bought lip moisturizers.

4. Matte or Sparkle Eyeshadow? Matte eyeshadow for me.  I like to keep my makeup fairly low-key and matte colours do the trick for me in that department.  If I’ve got a special occasion to attend, on the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past me to whip out a little bit of sparkle!

5. Gel, Liquid, Cream or Pencil Liner? I tend to stick to the basics when it comes to eye liner.  I’m just not skilled enough to use the liquid or gel liners!  Pencils work for me!  I just started using a new powdered eyeliner from Jane Iredale.  It’s definitely a bit more challenging to apply than a regular pencil, but I love the different effects you can get with it!

6. Foundation or Concealer? I use concealer daily.  Right up there with my lipstick, I don’t leave the house without it.  I just dab a bit on under my eyes to even out my skin and it does the trick.  Right now, I’m using a concealer from Jane Iredale (can you tell I LOVE her line of makeup?!) and it blends really well into my skin without looking flaky.

7. Liquid or Powder Foundation? I used to use powder religiously.  However, after I made the switch to safer makeup products, I found that I could go with out.  You won’t find any foundation or powder in my makeup bag now!

8. Neutral or Statement Eye? I love the smoky eye look.  It’s my favorite, by far.  Even so, I tend to stick with the low-key smoky eye, even for special occasions.  It lets me stick to what I know!

9. Pressed or Loose Shadows? I like the pressed shadows.  They are less messy and easier to apply.  I always find I use way too much product with a loose shadow!

10. Waterproof or Non-Waterproof? I stay away from waterproof and try my best not to cry!

11. Brushes, Sponges or Fingers? Fingers.  I have the best control of the makeup (read: concealer) I’m patting on when I use my hands.  A brush or sponge just confuses the whole process for me!

12. Powder, Cream or Liquid Highlighters? I’ve never actually used a highlighter!  Can you believe it?  I guess I’ll have to experiment with it one day and let you all know how it goes!

♥ Spill your beauty secrets! (Additional Q for you by D (♥

Can’t Live Without Skincare Product?

So hard to choose!  I really depend on my lip scuff.  It’s another homemade product of mine that I use day and night.  It keeps my lips soft and supple, avoiding any dry skin whatsoever.  When I’m running low, it’s a bit of a crisis in my house!

Favorite Makeup Blusher?

Can you guess?  I’m in  love with Jane Iredale products these days!  And that goes for the pressed blush too!

Take-it-with-me-always beauty product?

My lipstick.  The colour is Halle by Jane Iredale.  It goes with me all the time.  The lipstick feels great on my lips…it’s moisturizing and it isn’t sticky!  What more could you ask for?

Bonus Question from Tianna @StorybookApothecary!

What Is One Beauty Item You’re Willing To Splurge On Even Though It’s Expensive?

Having just started using the Nourish Face Oil from Suti, I think I might be hooked!  I absolutely love the scent and the texture of this oil blend.  I’d have a hard time justifying buying it since I regularly make my own face oil.  On the other hand, my oil just isn’t as luxurious as this one!  Stay tuned for a post on my Suti stash soon!

Bonus Question from Alia @AuNaturelEssence!

What is the one beauty product you could do without for a week?  If you absolutely had to give one thing up, what would it be?

This is a tough one for me.  I’ve really paired down my makeup routine to the bare basics, so it’s hard to know what I could do without.  Perhaps it’s my mascara.  I do love the volume it gives to my lashes.  However, if forced to make a sacrifice, I think I could live without it!

And Now, It’s Time for Tag-sies!

Related Articles:

Beauty Confessions – This or That Tag – You’re It!

Something Fun: This or That, Beauty Tag – You’re It!

Tag: This or That!

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New Year’s Resolutions

Like many, I take time at the end of each year to take stock of the year that is finishing and make some plans for the upcoming year.

2011 was an exciting year for me.  It was my third year of learning how to make my own skin care products.  I started the year by tackling liquid soap.  By December, I had added liquid soap, melt and pour soaps, lotion, serums, lip gloss and night oil to my repertoire of products!  It was such a lot of fun learning and experimenting with different ingredients all through the year.  Much of that experimentation was focused on natural hair care, a front that I’m still working on.  Not only have I managed to get rid of many potentially harmful ingredients that were in my household and daily routine, I have also been able to share this with friends and family.

All Natural Treats for Body and SoulIt was particularly exciting to start Au Naturel Essence and to set up this blog, which I did mid-year.   Through this blog, I have connected with others who I would never have met otherwise and I’ve also found a way to share my journey with you all.  It also allowed me to take my first set of orders for Christmas this year.

Truly, 2011 was an exciting year and I’m so grateful for all of the things I was able to accomplish.

As always, I’m excited for the new year.  I can’t wait to continue my experiments and expand my line of products further.  Look for more soaps of all kinds, a return of the hand balm, and more bath products.  I know there will be even more that I haven’t even contemplated yet.  I’ll be sure to share it with you when I get there!

Best wishes you all for the new year!

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Emergency Gifts

You know by now that I start the planning process for the Christmas gift bags a couple of months ahead of time in October.  So, when I started to receive adhoc requests for gift bags at the end of November, I was bit unprepared and knew I wouldn’t have enough time to fill the requests.  So, I got creative and put together a few of my favourite products for some special gifts.  Here are some of the products I chose:

  1.  Spice Scrub.  This is a scrub for your hands and feet.  It exfoliates as well as moisturizes and uses all natural ingredients.  My scrub is quite a bit oilier than the ones you can buy in the store.  If you limit your use it will leave your hands and feet soft and moisturized, but not oily.  Better yet, it won’t leave your skin feeling dry or itchy.
  2. Lip Gloss.  This is a fun lip gloss.  It’s not sticky, but it will certainly keep your lips moist.  I coloured these ones blue for fun.  It’s enough colour to look good in the tube, but not enough to show up blue on your lips.
  3. Lip Scuff.  This is another one of my favourite products.  Before I learned how to make this, I had never heard of or considered using a lip scuff.  However, after trying it a couple of times, I realized it was great for removing dry skin and keeping your lips smooth and soft.  I live in a dry climate, so anything that helps combat the dry weather is a treat.

Between these few extra treats and some extra products that I’d had the foresight to make, I was able to put together a few extra gifts for the Christmas season.  It’s such a pleasure to gift gifts at any time of the year.  It has given me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I was able to give the gift of pampering to our friends and family this year.

Enjoy the holiday season!


Mind Your Own Beeswax

If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I recently discovered a company that makes skin care products which advocates against using natural waxes, such as beeswax, so as to avoid ingesting the same. It was the first time I’d heard that there could be a problem in using beeswax in skin care products, like lip stick or lip balm, and, as promised, I have spent the last few days researching it.

Beeswax is largely considered safe, provided it is used in limited amounts.  It is an inert substance, meaning that it does not interact with the human digestive system at all.  In other words, it would pass through the body unaltered.  Beeswax can be used to create a non-allergenic protective film on the human skin.  In this way, it protects against moisture loss.  That’s at least part of the reason that you see beeswax as an ingredient in many skin care products.  We see beeswax is lip balms, soaps, candles and other products.  It is generally considered non toxic.

It’s true that beeswax can cause a serious intestinal blockage.  However, you would have to ingest it in large amounts.  This would cause symptoms such as stomach upset and swelling or nausea.  (Don’t worry – the amount of beeswax that you would ingest inadvertently from your lip balm should not lead to a serious intestinal blockage.)

As far as I’m concerned, I am comfortable in using beeswax in my own skin care products or buying products that include this ingredient.  Unless you plan to eat a large chunk of it, I think you’ll be safe!  If you want to read more, check out these links.  They provided great information for my research project.

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Natural long lasting lip colour – is it worth it?

How many of you have tried to find a lipstick that both lasts all day and feels good on your lips?  It’s one that doesn`t end up on your teeth or your glass of water.  It’s a lipstick that feels smooth on your lips, not sticky.  And of course, it has to be a great colour!

The fact is, there are many products that claim to do all of these things.  They usually come with two coats – one with the color and a top coat to seal in the colour.  They work reasonably well and they tend to made with all kinds of non-natural products.

One of my friends recently asked me about a new lip colour that she had purchased.  When she tried it on, she noticed three sensations that she was not expecting.

  1.  Stinging on her lips
  2. Stench of the product
  3. Significant drying of her lips

Yes, the colour stayed on, but she wasn’t too impressed with the unexpected side effects.

After hearing this horrific review, I decided I had to try it as well.  (Knowing her experience, I was the only test subject I could identify!).  I had the very same experience…stinging, stench and significant drying.

I’ve investigated the ingredient list and, to my surprise, none of the individual ingredients have a high toxicity rating.  That really surprised me.

I did learn however, that this product is alcohol based.  It is different from other lip colours and lip balms that are based in wax.  I`ve also learned that there is a theory that ingesting natural wax (i.e. beeswax) is harmful, even in the small amounts that you would get from a natural lip product.  That’s the first that I had heard of this theory.  I will certainly be investigating further.

In the meantime, natural or not, any lip product that makes your lips sting when you put it on should not be one that you feel compelled to use.


Body Lotion from Scratch

I devoted the whole day on Saturday to recreating the lotion that I learned how to make last week at Soap & More.  I’ve always had dry skin and have always used some type of moisturizing lotion on my skin.  Knowing how to make my own from scratch is such a relief!

The recipe I used this weekend made about 750 mL of lotion.  I divided it into several containers so that I could try different scents in each one.  In total, I made 9 small jars of lotion and 2 larger tubs of lotion.  It’s by far the best moisturizer that I’ve ever used and it feels great on the skin.

I topped off my crafting day with a couple tubes of lip gloss.  Here it is!


Working on a Lip Gloss

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a workshop dedicated to Mineral Makeup for Lips at Soap & More. (

As usual, the workshop was great.  It was hands-on and full of tips and tricks.  We made four different products and in doing so, experimented with lots of different materials.

The most fun lip product for me was the lip gloss.  We packaged the lip gloss in lip balm tubes with wand applicators.  Many of us chose to include a color in the mix to give it an extra pizzazz.  It was great!

Over the past week, I have been working on recreating the lip gloss, with a couple of my own alterations, of course.  My goal was to modify the recipe that I learned at the workshop into something a bit more liquidy.  As I suspected, this has a lot of do with the carrier oil and wax that you use.  Fortunately, after much experimenting, I’m proud to say that I’ve hit on the combination that suits my tastes.  The side benefit of having so many different combinations of ingredients is that I got to try out different colors and flavours in each tube.